FIG AND GOAT CHEESE TART
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper
1 package of refrigerated pie dough or batch of dough from recipe below
8 figs, quartered
4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups cream or whole milk
In a skillet over medium heat add a tablespoon of olive oil, the sliced red onion, sugar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté slowly until soft and caramelized, but not browned. Remove to a small bowl and allow to cool.
Line a straight-sided quiche or tart pan with your chilled dough. Carefully press the dough into the pan. Trim excess dough from the sides, leaving a small amount of overhang due to the dough shrinking during baking. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your dough with parchment paper and weigh it down with dried beans, pie weights or dried rice. Place it on a baking sheet and blind bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper and the weights and bake for another 10 minutes until golden and no longer appears wet. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before filling.
When your crust is cooled, arrange the quartered figs across the bottom and top with the goat cheese and caramelized onions. In a mixing bowl whisk together the 4 eggs and the 2 cups of milk or cream and a small amount of salt and pepper. Pour the liquid into the crust. Fill almost to the top. Transfer to the oven and cook at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until filling is firm. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
JULIA CHILD’S ALL-PURPOSE PIE DOUGH
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, diced
4 tablespoons chilled shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more if needed
Drop the flour, salt, and butter into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse five or six times in 1/2 second bursts to break up the butter. Then add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the ice water, pulsing two to three times. Remove cover and check dough.
It should look like a mass of smallish lumps and just barely hold in a mass when a handful is pressed together. If too dry, pulse in droplets of water. Turn dough out onto your work surface and with the heel of your hand rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs out in front of you in 6-inch smears.
Gather the dough into a relatively smooth, flat round; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least two hours (or up to 2 days), or you may freeze for several months. For sweet dough cut the salt down to 1/4 teaspoon and include 2 tablespoons sugar.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.